TIPOFF: 2 p.m. Saturday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. TV: CSNCA. Radio: 910-AM.
A good story on Jorge Gutierrez by Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.
Arizona is not as good a team as Missouri or UNLV, two clubs that had their way with the Bears outside the Pac-12. But in terms of style and personnel, the Wildcats presented many of the same problems Cal had with the Tigers and Rebels.
They were physical, aggressive and quick. And because they are not particularly big, they created matchups that were difficult for the Bears to handle in Cal’s 78-74 loss Thursday night.
Seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp handled the Arizona aggression, and gave as much as they took. They combined to shoot 16 for 30 and scored 40 points to go with 15 rebounds.
Their teammates weren’t as good — shooting a combined 13 for 35 and totaling 34 points.
Saturday’s matinee vs. battered Arizona State won’t provide the same kind of test, but there is ample evidence that suggests the Bears may be fortunate not to have a rematch at Arizona (or Missouri or UNLV, for that matter).
Allen Crabbe, as good as he is, has had some trouble against this type of opponent. His 35.7-percent 3-point shooting vs. Mizzou, Vegas and Arizona isn’t the issue so much as the fact that he only attempted 14 3-pointers in those three games.
Quick defenders went hard at him behind the 3-point arc, forcing Crabbe to put the ball on the floor. He is trying to be more aggressive, but it’s not second nature or entirely comfortable yet. In those same three games, is shot 4 for 19 from inside the 3-point arc.
I’m not trying to pick on Crabbe. He is very good, is only a sophomore and is working on the areas of his game that need attention. But when his perimeter shot is going in, Crabbe stretches the defense and makes the rest of the Cal offense function more efficiently.
As a team, Cal shot a combined 8 for 32 from the 3-point arc vs. Missouri, UNLV and Arizona.
Others also struggled against the Cats. Freshman forward David Kravish faced a very awkward matchup vs. Jesse Perry, who is older, stronger and more comforable operating away from the basket. And backup point guard Brandon Smith played what I’m guessing he would call his worst game of the season: zero points, one assist, three fouls and five turnovers in 10 minutes.
ABOUT THE SUN DEVILS: No team has had more woes at point guard than Arizona State. Would-be starter Jahii Carson, an elite recruit, never became academically eligible to play this season. Keala King was moved from shooting guard to handle the job, but was booted from the team last month. Trent Lockett, a natural wing, got the next shot and did his best until felled by an ankle sprain. He has missed the past five games,during which ASU is 1-4 and averaged 48.8 points in the losses. Lockett will sit out again vs. Cal, according to an ASU sp0kesman.
Junior Chris Colvin has run the point the past five games, totaling 20 assists and 22 turnovers. ASU is last in the Pac-12 at 16.2 turnovers per game, and has had just one game in 22 with fewer turnovers than its opponent. Center Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 sophomore, is coming off a career-high 20 points in the 68-44 loss at Stanford and is averaging 12.5 points the past four games. In 18 games before that, he averaged just 2.8 points.
For all their issues, the Sun Devils are a better team now than a month ago, Cal coach Mike Montgomery believes. “They had distractions and I think the distractions threw them off,” Montgomery said. “It’s really hard for young kids to deal with stuff and they had a couple kids that were distractions, and they eliminated them. I think they’re playing together, they’re enjoying themselves and they’re playing hard.”
THE SERIES: Cal owns a 36-35 all-time edge and has won the past four meetings.
MISCELLANY: Cal junior center Robert Thurman, who could see considerable playing time today against ASU’s two 7-foot post players, is averaging 7.5 points the past four games . . . ASU freshman wing Jonathan Gilling, second on the team with 30 3-point baskets, sprained his hand at Stanford and is questionable to face Cal . . . ASU is one of just nine teams out of 338 nationwide without a senior on its roster.
Cal (17-6, 7-3 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||15.7||6.1|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||10.2||5.1|
|PF David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||5.7||5.2|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||14.3||5.4|
|PG Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||12.0||4.7*|
|G Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||3.7||2.8*|
|G Emerson Murray||6-2||So.||1.8||0.7|
|C Robert Thurman||6-10||Jr.||3.5||1.7|
Arizona State (7-15, 3-7 Pac-12)
|C Jordan Bachynski||7-2||So.||4.7||3.2|
|PF Carrick Felix||6-6||Jr.||8.3||5.9|
|SF Jonathan Gilling||6-7||Fr.||5.9||1.9|
|SG Chanse Creekmur||6-5||So.||4.8||2.4|
|PG Chris Colvin||6-2||Jr.||6.5||3.3*|
|F Kyle Cain||6-7||So.||8.3||5.9|
|C Ruslan Pateev||7-0||Jr.||4.9||3.2|
|G Trent Lockett||6-4||Jr.||13.9||6.4|